In Which I Am Kind to Myself, through a Massage! (#BestOf)

In Which I Am Kind to Myself, through a Massage! (#BestOf)

be-good-to-yourself-too

Posted on September 10, 2014 by chaplaineliza

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, September 10, 2016

One of my—recent—favorite things is a massage. Truly wonderful! Heavenly. And, my masseuse is marvelous. She knows what my body needs and what my muscles are telling her as soon as she checks things out. I know this is a luxury. But, such a wonderful luxury. I thank God that I can take advantage of this excellent service at the YMCA where I am a member. (Thanks, Dori! Thanks, YMCA!)

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, September 9, 2014

In Which I Am Kind to Myself, through a Massage!

I splurged. I really did. Since last month was my husband’s and my wedding anniversary, I took the opportunity to buy a half hour massage at the YMCA here in town. And, today was the day I enjoyed a half hour of pampering. Self-care. Being kind—to myself!

Most times, I do prayer, meditation, breathing exercises, and yoga to try to relax. Ease my stress levels. Calm my breathing and minimize my worry. But every few months, I go out of my way to try to fit in a massage.

In case anyone reading this has never experienced a massage, they are wonderful. Marvelous. Truly a splurge-worthy experience. Of course, I go to an awesome masseuse, when I can scrape together the money. Dori is absolutely fantastic. I told her, as she was working on my forearms and hands at the end of the half hour, that I thought I died and went to heaven. (And I was more than half serious.) And, I sincerely thanked her for the wonderful job she did on me—and my lower back, too.

Of course, there are other ways to be kind to myself. Slowing down, having coffee with a friend, going to the Botanic Garden, or reading a fiction book (my current favorite books are a series of murder mysteries set in the 1920’s). There are other ways to practice self-care, too. Regular exercise. Going on walks in nature. Practicing giving or encouragement. Listening to quiet music. Prayer. Meditation. Silencing my spirit and mind. And, countless other ways, besides. Self-care—caring for one’s physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual parts of the whole person, however that may happen best.

Listed above are all ways that appeal to me. I know they won’t appeal to everyone. (And for some, the thought of a few of these ways are probably like fingernails screeching across a chalk board.) I also give God a big praise for making each of us different from all the others—over the world, as well as over time. King David in Psalm 139 refers to each of us being fearfully and wonderfully made by God’s hands. No cookie cutter creation for us, no sir!

What about you? What kind of self-care particularly appeals to you, right now? Or, are you shy of making room or making time for self-care? Does caring for yourself sound selfish and thoughtless? If you are not clearing your calendar or your life for taking care of yourself, you are missing out! (And believe me when I say I am preaching this to me even more than preaching it to you.)

God, thanks for the awesome focus on self-care. Help me to not only practice this good gift from You, but to pass it on. Help others learn the importance of being Selfish—towards God, and towards each person. Individually. I’m no cookie cutter creation, and neither are You! Thanks, God.

@chaplaineliza

(Suggestion: visit me at my blog: matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers– where I am doing a PEACE journey through the year. #PursuePEACE. Pursuing Peace – Thanks!)

(also published at ayearofbeingkind.wordpress.com .   @chaplaineliza And read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er – Thanks!)

 

 

Being Kind to Unkind People?

(the Best of) A Year of Being Kind, January 30, 2015

When I think of unkind people, one of the last things in the world I want to do is to be kind to them. Be helpful. Be friendly.

Wait just a minute . . . what would Jesus do? (Here are my thoughts from a year ago.)

BK be kind to unkind people 

 Being Kind to Unkind People?

When I think of unkind people, I think of sourpusses. People like Scrooge (before his reformation). Or people who do particularly nasty things. I see articles on the Internet under the Crime section of news sites I visit that astound, horrify, and sadden me.

In this blog post, I won’t concentrate on such extreme examples. Instead, I’ll mention a person in my acquaintance who was not kind with their tongue. I’ll also use a bit of C.S. Lewis’s excellent comments about the same fault from Book IV, Chapter 10 of Mere Christianity.

One person I’m thinking of qualified as a sourpuss. (I say “qualified” because she has passed on to her heavenly reward.) In our common ministry in the church, nothing was ever right. Nothing was ever good enough. She had to step in and readjust things, or redo arrangements, or rewrite the report. Moreover, her opinions of her fellow church members were often not charitable or kind. People didn’t exactly tiptoe around her. But sometimes, they did modify comments made in her hearing or just not ask her about things. Yet, she was accounted as a Christian, and a lifelong church member.

In Mere Christianity’s example of a nice, good-tempered atheist and a mean, nasty-mouthed Christian, C.S. Lewis asks the excellent question of what the mean Christian’s tongue would be like if she were not a Christian, and what the nice atheist’s tongue might be like if he were to become one.

Both the atheist and the Christian, “as a result of natural causes and early upbringing, have certain temperaments: Christianity professes to put both temperaments under new management if they will allow it to do so. . . . You cannot expect God to look at [the atheist’s] placid temper and friendly disposition exactly as we do. Being merely temperamental, they will all disappear if [the atheist’s] digestion alters. . . . In the same way, God has allowed natural causes, working in a world spoiled by centuries of sin, to produce in [the Christian] the narrow mind and jangled nerves which account for most of her nastiness.”

My goodness. I have not read that particular passage for a number of years. Yet, it came back to me because of my prayer and meditation time this morning. I was not even concentrating on that specific topic today, yet God had this passage from Mere Christianity wash up on the shores of my mind. It all fits together. Really.

I needed to have my elbow jogged. God wanted to remind me about my attitude, and treating all people kindly. It doesn’t matter whether they are mean-spirited or nasty or unkind. I am to treat them in a kind and tenderhearted manner. And if I step back and wonder, “Do they really deserve kind treatment? After all, look what they’ve done/said/acted like!” all I need to do is to reflect on, “What would Jesus do?” How would He treat that horrible person? What would He say to the person who did that nasty action, or said that mean comment?

All I need to do is look in the mirror, and look at myself. God wants me to be kind to unkind people—they need it the most. (Unkind like me. Sometimes.)

@chaplaineliza

(Suggestion: visit me at my daily blog for 2015: matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers. Thanks!)

(also published at ayearofbeingkind.wordpress.com

Helping? Being There for My Friend!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, October 26, 2014

Centering-Prayer-hands holding candle

Helping? Being There for My Friend!

I have a friend who lives in a neighboring state. We recently had dinner when she was in Chicago for some business. We have gotten in the habit of having lively conversations over social media. It is so enjoyable! And I hope it’s mutually beneficial, as well.

My friend told me recently about a long, difficult day she had at work. On top of that, the situation at her home was not particularly peaceful. After the stressful day at work, of course she was anxious and frustrated. (I’ve been there, too—I know!) She gave me a play-by-play on her irritating home situation. And I commiserated. Good grief! I know how families can be sometimes.

I had a sudden thought. I asked my friend whether she wanted me to give her a brief meditation. (Great for relaxation and stress relief!) She said, “Sure!” Accordingly, I started.

Sit in a comfortable, straight-backed chair. Like a kitchen or dining room chair. (Not a stuffed armchair—too soft and squishy.) Both feet flat on the floor, and comfortably underneath you. Take three deep breaths. In. Out. In. Out. In. Out.

Place your hands comfortably on your lap–fold them or let them just rest there. Lift your shoulders up to your ears, hold them there–1-2-3-4—and relax. Turn your head slowly from side to side. Again. Lift your shoulders again. Hold–1-2-3-4—and relax. Again, three deep breaths. In. Out. In. Out. In. Out. Now you’re ready to come to God with a one-word or phrase prayer. Help. Thanks. Wow. I’m tired. I love you. Even, frustrated, or angry! Whatever you’ve got, that’s okay. However you feel, God knows about it. And God has dealt with lots worse! God and you together can do wonderful things.

Remember, this is supposed to be a short relaxation/prayer time! Only five minutes (*grin*). Now you’ve expressed feelings or prayer to God, let your arms fall to the sides. Wiggle them gently. Do gentle shoulder circles, forward and back. Now one last time, lift your shoulders—1-2-3-4—and drop. Three more deep breaths, in, out. In. Out. In. Out. Your breath should be more relaxed. Your blood pressure should be lower. Now you can re-engage with the family or with your co-workers, and be in a better place. Emotionally, physically, spiritually. In every way.

Afterwards, I asked her whether this meditation helped her to relax and get a better frame of reference. Her answer: Yes! “Physically, it helped me calm down and slow down. The rest of it helped me center my thoughts, and give my anxiety to God. God is much better at dealing with it than I am.”

And tears are okay, too. God has given us emotions on purpose. We are supposed to show the full range of emotions. A reminder–if you and I stuffed our emotions and feelings–stuffed crying and anger and frustration–the hidden, subterranean emotions could get really twisted and ugly.

Thanks, God! Thanks for my chaplainship training, and thanks especially for my friend.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Kind to Myself at a Silent Retreat

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, September 20, 2014

Be still, and know that I am God Ps 46-1

Kind to Myself at a Silent Retreat

I spent today in silence. At least, most of the day. In silence, reflection, prayer, and meditation.

At first, when I thought about participating in this retreat, I couldn’t justify spending a whole Saturday away. A whole Saturday when I intentionally separated myself from the busy, day-to-day, hustle and bustle. But the more I thought about it, the more I considered it to be something I needed to do. For myself, and for my spiritual health.

So, yes. I was kind to myself today. As the title of the day of prayer said, this was a Soul Care Day. A day to be gentle with the soul, and to reflect on scripture. The two reflections of the day touched me deeply. (Both on the Good Shepherd; the morning reflection on Psalm 23, and the afternoon reflection on John 10.) It was deeply moving to have a connection with God in such an intimate way. Another powerful thing that moved me as well was the additional material each participant received.

I found I appreciated the prompts that helped me join this silent retreat fully. Concerns (about myself, others close to me, my work), weariness (of body, mind or spirit), distractions (that occupy or nag at my mind or heart) and fears (“what ifs,” outcomes, expectations). I was encouraged to bring any or all of these things to conscious awareness, as they came to mind, and set them aside. So I might fully enter into the retreat.

A third thing that touched me deeply was a private prayer time I had with the retreat leaders. This was a kind and giving act they offered. A precious gift, and I welcomed it. Three people prayed with me. One I have only known and seen several times. The other two I have known for a long time. One woman has a number of children, with two the exact ages of my two youngest. She and I were in a mom’s bible study together for years, before I even went to seminary. (And the third? My spiritual director, and an amazing woman of faith.)

It was restful and helpful for me to step away. Step out of a leadership position at the church where I work, and rest in the hands of God. Walk with the Good Shepherd for a short time, and rest in the green pastures of God’s grace and love. Thank You, God, for this wonderful opportunity to rest in You.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

In Which I Am Kind to Myself, through a Massage!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, September 9, 2014

best things in life aren't things

In Which I Am Kind to Myself, through a Massage!

I splurged. I really did. Since last month was my husband’s and my wedding anniversary, I took the opportunity to buy a half hour massage at the YMCA here in town. And, today was the day I enjoyed a half hour of pampering. Self-care. Being kind—to myself!

Most times, I do prayer, meditation, breathing exercises, and yoga to try to relax. Ease my stress levels. Calm my breathing and minimize my worry. But every few months, I go out of my way to try to fit in a massage.

In case anyone reading this has never experienced a massage, they are wonderful. Marvelous. Truly a splurge-worthy experience. Of course, I go to an awesome masseuse, when I can scrape together the money. Dori is absolutely fantastic. I told her, as she was working on my forearms and hands at the end of the half hour, that I thought I died and went to heaven. (And I was more than half serious.) And, I sincerely thanked her for the wonderful job she did on me—and my lower back, too.

Of course, there are other ways to be kind to myself. Slowing down, having coffee with a friend, going to the Botanic Garden, or reading a fiction book (my current favorite books are a series of murder mysteries set in the 1920’s). There are other ways to practice self-care, too. Regular exercise. Going on walks in nature. Practicing giving or encouragement. Listening to quiet music. Prayer. Meditation. Silencing my spirit and mind. And, countless other ways, besides. Self-care—caring for one’s physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual parts of the whole person, however that may happen best.

Listed above are all ways that appeal to me. I know they won’t appeal to everyone. (And for some, the thought of a few of these ways are probably like fingernails screeching across a chalk board.) I also give God a big praise for making each of us different from all the others—over the world, as well as over time. King David in Psalm 139 refers to each of us being fearfully and wonderfully made by God’s hands. No cookie cutter creation for us, no sir!

What about you? What kind of self-care particularly appeals to you, right now? Or, are you shy of making room or making time for self-care? Does caring for yourself sound selfish and thoughtless? If you are not clearing your calendar or your life for taking care of yourself, you are missing out! (And believe me when I say I am preaching this to me even more than preaching it to you.)

God, thanks for the awesome focus on self-care. Help me to not only practice this good gift from you, but to pass it on. Help others learn the importance of being Selfish—towards God, and towards each person. Individually. I’m no cookie cutter creation, and neither are you!

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Being Kind, Showing Love—To Myself!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, February 5, 2014

love for real

Being Kind, Showing Love—To Myself!

I know I’ve mentioned this before, and I suspect I’ll mention it again. I try to go to the gym on a regular basis. I see this as being a good steward of my physical self. I honestly do try to go to my local YMCA three times a week. This not only helps me physically, but also emotionally and psychologically, too. (I can point you towards applicable studies done by researchers at universities, and articles written up in peer-reviewed journals, if you’re wondering.)

The positive endorphins that bounce around my insides after a good round of cardio-vascular exercise ought to be enough to keep me coming back, time after time! But wait, there’s more! I not only get this positive feeling after exercise, but I also have the muscles in my core (or, torso) strengthened and toned, too. This helps me, in all kinds of ways. Now that I’m firmly in my fifties, I need every little bit of help I can get. If going to the YMCA three times a week helps me in all of these ways (and more, besides!), I would be just plain silly not to go.

I ran into Bill Geiger yesterday, the president of my local YMCA. He and I have a nodding acquaintance, and I hadn’t seen him for a number of weeks—not since December. I told him about this blog. I asked him whether he could think about positive, helpful acts of service at the Y, and let me know about them. He seemed really intrigued, and we stood there in the big exercise room and discussed acts of kindness for several minutes. He was quite approving, and urged me to continue with the blog.

Then—he got thoughtful for a moment, and told me about a pressing problem he has heard about, time and again. People working, acting, running—doing things for everyone else, but not thinking of themselves. Bill was quite concerned about this common tendency he had noticed, and lifted it up as a potential problem. I nodded, and agreed. Indeed, it is! Especially in our local community, where many people are outwardly-focused. Altruistic. God-centered. Mission-minded. (Whatever your preference.) Bill had to run, so we said good-bye. But Bill’s words stayed with me.

As I said at the beginning of this post, exercise is a marvelous way to deal with stress and worry, and a positive way to get the blood moving and heart pumping. Many gyms have exercise programs for most (if not all) levels, and some have personal trainers, massage therapists, and yoga and pilates instructors, too. (Check with a qualified medical professional before starting any physical program, though. Just to be sure it’s right for you.) However, there are additional ways of taking time for yourself. I’ve used prayer and meditation, listening to soft music, walking for pleasure, gardening, going to museums and zoos, meeting with friends, and a whole host of other helpful things to do. For self-care. For showing myself love and kindness. And God will be pleased that I’m not so stressed and worried, too.

What a wonderful reminder! I’ve got to thank Bill, next time I see him. And thank God for friends, too.

@chaplaineliza

Being Kind to Unkind People?

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, January 28, 2014

BK be kind to unkind people

Being Kind to Unkind People?

When I think of unkind people, I think of sourpusses. People like Scrooge (before his reformation). Or people who do particularly nasty things. I see articles on the Internet under the Crime section of news sites I visit that astound, horrify, and sadden me.

In this blog post, I won’t concentrate on such extreme examples. Instead, I’ll mention a person in my acquaintance who was not kind with their tongue. I’ll also use a bit of C.S. Lewis’s excellent comments about the same fault from Book IV, Chapter 10 of Mere Christianity.

One person I’m thinking of qualified as a sourpuss. (I say “qualified” because she has passed on to her heavenly reward.) In our common ministry in the church, nothing was ever right. Nothing was ever good enough. She had to step in and readjust things, or redo arrangements, or rewrite the report. Moreover, her opinions of her fellow church members were often not charitable or kind. People didn’t exactly tiptoe around her. But sometimes, they did modify comments made in her hearing or just not ask her about things. Yet, she was accounted as a Christian, and a lifelong church member.

In Mere Christianity’s example of a nice, good-tempered atheist and a mean, nasty-mouthed Christian, C.S. Lewis asks the excellent question of what the mean Christian’s tongue would be like if she were not a Christian, and what the nice atheist’s tongue might be like if he were to become one. Both the atheist and the Christian, “as a result of natural causes and early upbringing, have certain temperaments: Christianity professes to put both temperaments under new management if they will allow it to do so. . . . You cannot expect God to look at [the atheist’s] placid temper and friendly disposition exactly as we do. Being merely temperamental, they will all disappear if [the atheist’s] digestion alters. . . . In the same way, God has allowed natural causes, working in a world spoiled by centuries of sin, to produce in [the Christian] the narrow mind and jangled nerves which account for most of her nastiness.”

My goodness. I have not read that particular passage for a number of years. Yet, it came back to me because of my prayer and meditation time this morning. I was not even concentrating on that specific topic today, yet God had this passage from Mere Christianity wash up on the shores of my mind. It all fits together. Really.

I needed to have my elbow jogged. God wanted to remind me about my attitude, and treating all people kindly. It doesn’t matter whether they are mean-spirited or nasty or unkind. I am to treat them in a kind and tenderhearted manner. And if I step back and wonder, “Do they really deserve kind treatment? After all, look what they’ve done/said/acted like!” all I need to do is to reflect on, “What would Jesus do?” How would He treat that horrible person? What would He say to the person who did that nasty action, or said that mean comment?

All I need to do is look in the mirror, and look at myself. God wants me to be kind to unkind people—they need it the most. (Unkind like me. Sometimes.)

@chaplaineliza